Meditation can be a quick way to set a calm, attentive, and balanced tone to your day. Whether you're new to meditation or experienced, several minutes a day can go a long way.
In the meditation below, you'll practice relaxing while focusing your awareness on the breath. It's normal that your mind will wander off the breath an unbelievable amount of times. When you notice your mind wandering, that is a fundamental component of meditating! After you notice your mind just meandered, accept your mind meandering with compassion (like it's no big deal, because it's human!) and go back to watching your breath. In a way, this process of relaxed focus, wandering off, and coming back is like doing push-ups at the gym. You're training your mind to be calm, awake, and resilient.
Here's an easy meditation technique to start your day:
1. Find a comfortable seated or reclined position.
Find a spot where you can be physically still for three minutes or longer. I often sit up against my headboard in bed, but you can sit on a cushion, a chair, or even lie down with your knees bent.
2. Set a timer.
I use a free app called the "meditation timer." You can set it for anywhere from three to 20 minutes. The more you meditate, the longer you will likely be able to do it for.
3. Close your eyes and breathe naturally.
Try to relax your body, even if it feels awkward. Notice your breath in the belly for five cycles or so. Then shift your awareness higher into the ribs and notice how your breath feels in the ribs for five cycles. Next, bring your attention to how your breath feels in your chest for five cycles.
4. Finally, pick the region (belly, ribs, chest) that seems like the easiest spot for you to pay attention to your breath.
Keep watching your breath, and when your mind wanders, accept your mind wandering with kindness, and restart watching your breath again (and again, and again). Continue to do this for as long as you can! It may be difficult at first, and you may able to do it for only three minutes. Trust that it will get easier with time and how frequently you practice!
Here are a few more articles to help you start a meditation practice that works for you!: